It's Definitely Work.

"Oorah!" 9 x 12 Chalk pastel on flat canvas
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I got a little carried away with this one, and it's on fairly small canvas-- a painting of a boat that we used to walk by quite often at the harbor in Oceanside, California.   Oceanside Harbor is right next to Camp Pendleton.   If you live anywhere near a military base that houses marines, you know what "Oorah!" means.

I began the piece with a blue chalk sketch on a piece of flat canvas, and blended the chalk with water to give it a bit of a watercolor feel.  Water helps stick the chalk to the canvas, eliminating some of that annoying dust and also replacing the potent can of fixative I sometimes break out in case of emergency.  It's best to use a watercolor brush and have a paper towel handy if you want to lift out some extra highlights, and keep the canvas absolutely flat as it dries.

I meant to go for a more secondary color scheme with greens, purples, and a bit of orange, but the blue dominated the painting (as it did the reference photo), so I kept the colors down to more of a blue, purple, and white palette.  I almost didn't add the flag simply because I wasn't sure how to balance out that red, but my three year-old insisted that I include the flag.  She was right, as the boat wouldn't have felt right without it.  I added bits of red to some of the other areas to balance out those scarlet stripes waving from the boat.

It probably would have been easier to make this a dry pastel on paper or even an acrylic (not that I get much time for that anymore), because the canvas tends to eat up the pastel if you get too many layers on it.  I did have to call in the can of fixative toward the end, which darkened up some areas and gave it a little more contrast.  I like to use canvas as a surface because I enjoy the grainy texture it gives the pastel, and it's much easier to make changes early on with this combination-- you can always go back and use the water to erase or re-blend as needed in the beginning.

So, after finishing this piece up I  thought about why we call paintings "artwork" or "works of art," and realized that paintings may start out as fun, exciting ideas, but they often require quite a bit of work to reach their potential.

If you like this piece, visit my Nautical and Beach gallery!

If you want to see more pieces for sale, view my current ebay listings or visit my website.


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